She Got It From Her Mama

May 12, 2018

This Mother's Day, while celebrating all hardworking mothers, we will be casting a spotlight on a few inspirational women that we've had the pleasure of working with and who have seamlessly been able to juggle the demands of motherhood and running their own business. Discover the insights they embraced from their mothers and their own philosophy on motherhood.

Joleen Soo


The fabulously fun yet focused Joleen Soo has worked across many industries including media, travel, F&B and PR with some high profile companies boasting names like National Geographic, Moët Hennessy Diageo. This ability to adapt to new environments has made for a smooth transition to helping non-profits with development and funding.

She cut her teeth at the Cambodian Children's Fund which was her first formal role in the NGO world.  It was that satisfaction of knowing her efforts were for the greater good that led her to form her own social impact agency Catalysta which aims to empower international brands with ways to give back. She's a mum to 2 cuties, Gabriel (5) and Olympia (2.5).

Q: What is the most rewarding experience about being a mother and what has surprised you about motherhood?

I love how the children actually find so much happiness in MY happiness. That's unconditional to how terrible I look or how grumpy I feel. What has surprised me the most about being a parent is how much I can have on my plate!

Q.What’s the best advice your mother gave to you?

My own mother is always telling me to slow down!

Q: What is your failsafe outfit of choice?

A silk midi dress in a wild pattern.  Hides all the flaws, won't show your bum. You can still sit on the floor, plus the patterns hide the stains.  Plus silk always makes you feel a bit better about life.

Q: What transformation have you seen in yourself since becoming a mum?

Pre-Mum Joleen slept 10-12 hours a night.  Now I average half of that if I'm lucky.  Am I functioning? Mostly....

Q: How do you juggle motherhood and your work?

Well I am very lucky to run my own hours which basically means I am on call to everyone at all hours! During school hours it's important for me to squeeze in meetings and a workout.  I try to be home for the rest of the day where the kids can still find me, although I admit I'm not even close to being 100% present (or even 50!).  

Q: What values would you like to instil in your children?

Empathy and curiosity.  Above almost all else.

Follow Joleen's journey on Instagram @joleenwhodreams


Sally Ryder

Sally Ryder is a household name in HK when you're after something special, stunning and shiny. Her first baby was the diamond company she started in 2005 when she first arrived in HK, Ryder Diamonds. Her company specialises in the art of handcrafted, diamond engagement rings and bespoke jewellery.

It’s been her passion, obsession, work, joy and stress...her everything until her gorgeous son Jack was born 3 years ago. She's now expecting a baby girl in August!

Q: What is the most rewarding experience about being a mother and what has surprised you about motherhood?

The most rewarding thing is the love you can feel for another person, your own flesh and blood. The miracle of seeing them grow before your eyes is just amazing. The most surprising thing about motherhood is the sense of fun that it’s brought into our lives. Kids are so funny and we have lots of laughs at home. It takes you back to your childhood and the chance to enjoy life’s simple pleasures like a play in the park or an ice cream at the beach. I love being called “mummy” and being that person that your little one goes to for comfort and hugs. It’s so heart warming.

Q: What’s the best advice your mother gave to you?

That life is too short to sweat the small stuff and don’t get your knickers in a knot about the things that are beyond your control. It helps to keep me calm.

Q: What is your failsafe outfit of choice?

Well right now I’m 6 months pregnant and my Isabella Olivier jeans with their stretchy high waist are pretty darn comfy. That paired with a stretchy singlet top and blazer is my go to work outfit of choice right now. Not exactly looking forward to being full term at the height of the HK Summer! I’m thinking light cotton dresses for the months ahead might become my failsafes.

Q: What transformation have you seen in yourself since becoming a mum? 

I have really changed my outlook on what I want out of my life for my family in the future. In my 20s and early 30s I was all business and super driven. I’ve still got a huge passion for my work but now I’m trying to figure out how to shape my business to work around how I want my life to look like with my family. I want less stress and need to give myself a break to spend time with Jack. Now with a baby girl on the way, my time that I can spend with my kids is more important than ever. Your priorities change when you get older and especially when your babies are so dependent on you.

Q: How do you juggle motherhood and your work?

It is tough, but it really wouldn’t be possible without an amazing network of support around me. My husband is an awesome dad and very hands on with Jack. He’s also very supportive of me at work. I say that Julie, our helper, is the boss at home and I’m the boss in the office. She is completely dependable and like a second mum to Jack. We’re a good team Julie and I! At work, I’m so lucky to have a really strong team. Each one of us work super well independently and are also great at supporting each other. My struggle comes from the demanding nature of my job and the time it consumes versus the time I want to spend with Jack and new baby. I have been using a business coach for the past 7 years who has been excellent at helping me check in with my goals and wants in both my personal life and work life. It’s great to have someone to report into that makes sure I’m staying on track and helps set me on the right path when I’m getting out of control!

Q: What values would you like to instil in your children?

Be kind and have empathy (because no one likes an a-hole!). 

Be respectful and polite.

Work hard, play hard.

Believe in yourself.

Take calculated risks- be careful, but not boring.

Find a passion and embrace it.

Be good to your body. It's the only one you have.

Follow Sally's journey on Instagram @ryderdiamonds


Rosanne Wong Baram

Rosanne or Rozy as she's fondly referred to is a mum, model and mogul! Rozy began her career as a singer of the former Cantopop music duo group 2R. Recently she decided to enter the entrepreneurial world and became the COO of the family friendly dental practice in HK, Central Smile she shares with her husband, Dr Derek Baram. If that isn't enough of an achievement she will be launching an organic, baby products line, Rozy Baby! Rozy is mum to 2 beautiful boys, Dylan (7) and Daniel (5).

Q: What is the most rewarding experience about being a mother and what has surprised you about motherhood?

For me, being a mother made me a better professional, because coming home to my sons reminded me what I was working for. And being a professional made me a better mother, because by pursuing my dreams, I was modeling for my sons how to pursue their dreams.

Q: What’s the best advice your mother gave to you?

My mother once told me, “Whether I will be a homemaker or a working mum, my first job is make sure that my kids are on point. That is the most important legacy I will ever leave.”

Q: What transformation have you seen in yourself since becoming a mum?

I have a greater and deeper understanding of life: family values. We get there because of folks like my parents, grandparents, men and women who said to themselves, I may not have a chance to fulfil my dreams, but maybe my children will, maybe my grandchildren will. With parenting, but especially with being a mum, there is sacrifice. This sacrifice, for me, though, as empowering, as a choice, as, even, a form of having it all.

Q: How do you juggle motherhood and your work?

Like so many working mothers all over the world, I feel the constant struggle to be the best mother I can, whilst setting a good example to my sons to work hard. I travel for work when it’s necessary, and I miss them the time when I am away. It is important to me to prioritise time with my sons and I must emphasise that we are our kids’ “person.” Someone else can always attend that conference or meeting, but not just anyone can be your child’s go-to person. Most working women can’t skip meetings and conferences whenever, but by having a schedule, it's possible to adjust.

I still find time to read to them, cook and bake with them. I do yoga twice a week, have a date night once a week and a meal with friends once every two weeks. You have to schedule the balance.

Q: What values would you like to instil in your children?

I shared with my sons, our purpose of life is to help those in need because by helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself. 

Follow Rozy's journey on Instagram @rosannewong and @centralsmilehk


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